Life in the Fast Lane

A TRIATHLETE'S MULTISPORT ADVENTURES, TRAVELS, RANDOM MUSINGS, AND CHRONICLES OF HER OTHERWISE ORDINARY LIFE

Back to School

By 3:02 PM , , , , ,


Today, I set foot inside a classroom for the first time in almost six years. It was surreal to be part of an academic setting after so long. My class was at 9am and at 8:55, as soon as I heard the bell sound off to signal that class was about to start, I hurried up. I felt what I used to feel as a university student once upon a time -- that feeling of excitement and, at the same time, anxiousness over what was about to take place.

I enrolled in a Saturday French class for adults (see this post for my blog about that subject). I entered the classroom (which was actually a faculty/student lounge converted into a classroom) and looked at who my classmates for the next eight sessions would be. There were three older women (who were apparently nuns, or seminarians -- I don't know the right term, sorry), and other girls about my age or younger. Basically, we were all girls. I don't know what that says about our gender.

Our teacher immediately started to jabber away in rapid French. Now, mind you, I wasn't around for the first two classes. I supposed that my classmates were slightly, if not already used to our teacher speaking in 95% French, 5% English. I was totally caught off guard, to be honest.

But thanks to my Spanish background (muchas gracias a mis profesores en Poveda, y en Ateneo, Señora Aquino y Señor Prado), I managed to keep up. My brain had this funny way of compartmentalizing the French sentences that the teacher would say and translating from Spanish to French.

We had to do a couple of role playing dialogues today; even if I was absent for two sessions, I still had to participate. Basically, we (well, actually they) reviewed how to introduce oneself. After that, we were made to guess whether a certain noun was masculine or feminine and write the articles le, la, or les before them. Again, thanks to my Spanish background, I'd simply translate the words to Spanish, figure out if they were masculine or feminine in Spanish, then say them back in French with the appropriate article. So far, that trick worked for every single noun we were made to guess.

But I still struggled today, I must say. It was a foreign feeling. Back in college, when I enrolled in Spanish 1, I knew what I was getting myself into. I had taken up Spanish since kindergarten because it was part of the curriculum of our kinder, grade school and high school classes. Spanish 1 was, to be completely honest, easy. It served as a review class of sorts. Spanish 2, 3 and 4 were more of the same, although I fell in love even more with the language because we had to study Spanish history, culture and art in Spanish.

This time, I was pretty much clueless. In my head, I wanted to ask and answer certain things but my brain was perpetually programmed to think in Spanish. I was so frustrated knowing that I knew what to say -- I just couldn't figure out how to say it.

Still, overall, it was a great first day as a French student. I can now introduce myself, count, say where I live, what I do for a living, and the usual stuff first-time students have to learn. Thankfully, because I've been pretty exposed to French (having a close friend at work who's half-French makes a world of difference), it's not so hard to get used to the accent. I just have to remember to "gargle" when I say the letter R. Haha!

I'm looking forward to the succeeding lessons and mastering the language at some point in the future. Wish me bonne chance, mes amis!

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